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This is something I did not know.  I have had many discussions with my right wing sister starting with the words "what if..." this could happen?  Or, "next thing, the right will be giving rapists the right to visitation and custody..."  I did not know until today that it is true in 31 states that rapists have these rights!!!  How can this be?

Today, it is all over the intertubes, but I haven't seen it picked up yet at DKos (sorry if I missed it).  It seems this is a HUGELY relevant issue to the rape and abortion stories and news right now.  I'll bet most people don't know this, except for those who have had to go through it.  

I am going to post the links to a couple of the stories here:

First, the link to the Georgtown Law Journal publication by the writer:
Georgetown Law Journal

Second, the link to the CNN article about Shauna Prewitt and her experience with having this happen to her:

Raped, pregnant and ordeal not over -

Here is the CNN info on Shauna Prewitt:

Editor's note: Shauna R. Prewitt is a lawyer in Chicago. She is the author of "Giving Birth to a 'Rapist's Child': A Discussion and Analysis of the Limited Legal Protections Afforded to Women Who Become Mothers Through Rape," written for the Georgetown Law Journal.
Key quotes below the squiggle, but please read the whole thing.

Eight years after my rape, I find myself on trial against ignorance again. Rep. Todd Akin's recent comments that "legitimate rape" rarely results in pregnancy not only flout scientific fact but, for me, cut deeper. Akin has de-legitimized my rape.

You see, nine months after my rape, I gave birth to a beautiful little girl. You could say she was conceived in rape; she was. But she is also so much more than her beginnings. I blissfully believed that after I finally had decided to give birth to and to raise my daughter, life would be all roses and endless days at the playground. I was wrong again.

It would not be long before I would learn firsthand that in the vast majority of states -- 31 -- men who father through rape are able to assert the same custody and visitation rights to their children that other fathers enjoy. When no law prohibits a rapist from exercising these rights, a woman may feel forced to bargain away her legal rights to a criminal trial in exchange for the rapist dropping the bid to have access to her child.

Returning to my comments:
She goes on to report how long rape trials can take (if there ever is one) and how much time that gives the rapist to claim his rights as a "father".  And even after conviction (an even less likely scenario), he still can claim such rights and be involved in his victim's life for many, many years.

Isn't it funny that those who vehemently oppose abortion in cases of rape never mention that, if you live in one of those 31 states and you choose to keep the child born of rape, you could be forced to have at least another 18 years of connection with the rapist because HE HAS RIGHTS AS A FATHER??!!!  

I think this story should be all over the tv news.  Let's try to push it out there.  This will be a very, very interesting discussion to have.

Why does the right focus on the victims and how much they can demean them, but have nothing at all to say about trying to end rape and rapists' rights to custody and visitation?    

I wanna hear Paul Ryan and others explain this and tell us what they are going to do about it.

7:56 PM PT: Info found on states that do not allow custody, with caveats.  I have contacted Guttmacher to see if I can find a definitive list.  Will let you know if I get a response.


The latest case to discuss this issue is Shepherd v. Clemens, 752 A.2d 533 (Del. 2000). There, the court concluded that when a child is conceived and born as the result of an unlawful sexual intercourse as defined in the code, the biological father shall not be permitted visitation. This does not violate constitutional principles. “No court has held that the mere fact of biological fatherhood that was the result of a conception during a criminal act and that is unaccompanied by a relationship with the child, creates an interest that the United States Constitution protects in the name of liberty.” See Lehr v. Robertson, 463 U.S. 248, 259-62 (1983). See generally Deborah L. Forman, Unwed Fathers and Adoption: A Theoretical Analysis in Context, 72 Texas L.Rev. 967 (1994).

Other states have similar statutory provisions. Alaska Stat. § 25.23.180 (1999) court may terminate parental relationship if child was conceived as a result of sexual assault, and termination is in the best interests of the child); Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 361.5 (West 1999) (reunification not provided to parent of child conceived as result of sexual assault); Conn. Gen. Stat. § 45a-717 (1999) (court may terminate parental rights of parent convicted of a sexual assault resulting in the conception of a child, except in certain cases of statutory rape); Idaho Code § 16-2005 (1999) (court may grant termination of parental rights as to a parent who conceived a child as a result of rape); 750 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 50/8 (West 1999) (father's consent to adoption not required if he fathered child as result of criminal sexual abuse or assault); Ind. Code § 31-19-9-8 (1999) (notice to father of adoption proceedings not required if child conceived as result of rape, incest, or sexual misconduct with a minor); Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. Tit. 19-A, § 1658 (West 1999) (court may terminate parental rights of person who conceived child as result of crime involving sexual intercourse, unless court informed that the act was consensual); Mo. Rev. Stat. § 211.447 (1999) (biological father's guilty plea or conviction of forcible rape of the birth mother is conclusive evidence to termination his parental rights); Nev. Rev. Stat. § 125c.210 (1999) (father has no right of custody or visitation if child conceived as result of sexual assault unless consented to by mother and is in the best interest of the child); N.J. Stat. Ann. § 9:2-4.1 (West 1999) (see infra text accompanying this note); N.M. Stat. Ann. § 32A-5-19 (Michie 1999); N.Y. Dom. Rel. Law § 111-a (McKinney 1999); Okla. Stat. Ann. Tit. 10, § 7006-1.1 (1999) (stating that the court may terminate parental rights if the child was conceived as a result of rape); 23 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 2511 (West 1999) (father's parental rights may be terminated if child conceived as a result of rape or incest); S.C. Code Ann. § 20-7-1734 (Law Co-op. 1999) (father not entitled to notice of adoption proceedings if child conceived as result of criminal sexual misconduct); Wis. Stat. §§ 48.42, 48.415 (1999) (§ 48.42 stating that no notice is required to the father in a termination of parental rights case when the child has been conceived as a result of sexual assault or rape; § 48.415 stating that parenthood as a result of sexual assault or rape is grounds for involuntary termination of parental rights).

10:23 PM PT: Holy, molely!  Not just the rec list, but check this out.

If you Google - rapists rights custody visitation - this diary is second from the top on Google searches!!

Thanks, all!  Hope we can get this onto MSNBC tomorrow.

10:45 PM PT: Oh, and let's not forget Current!!!

Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 7:25 PM PT: Even though this is way off the rec list by now (too much news), I wanted to follow up and close this out.  I rec'd a response from Guttmacher re which are the 31 states that allow parental rights for rapists.  They do not have that information and referred me back to Shawna Prewitt's paper in the Georgetown Law Journal.  

So, we are back around in circles.  It will probably take a lawyer to sort this out, and I am not one.  

Thanks for everyone's participation!

Originally posted to maryschoyc on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 07:12 PM PDT.

Also republished by Rape and Domestic Violence, Pro Choice, House of LIGHTS, and Abortion.

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